Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Abingdon circular walk

A nice day today so we zipped down the A34 in the new car to Abingdon. I know nothing about it, apart from that it is next to the Thames, and I vaguely remember someone telling me that it is a good place to visit.

We set off on a circular walk along the river and they weren't wrong. Abingdon is at the top of the map, and the route looks a bit like a fish, with the bit where we got lost and retraced our steps looking like a fin. 

Beautiful river views along the first half of the walk, including some nice locks and weirs.

The second half was not so exciting and definitely too many nettles for my bare legs.

Getting back to Abingdon the route took us through the town and it is full of beautiful ancient buildings, but we only paid for three hours in the car park, so had to hurry through them all and got back to the car with seven minutes remaining.

We will definitely be making another visit and this time exploring the town. 

Thursday, 29 July 2021

New car on the driveway

After selling the old car and walking home, then the next day we had to walk to the train station and take three trains to Redditch, and then walk for an hour to reach the garage where we could pick up our new car.

All went well, we picked it up and Darren drove us home.

Ideally we wanted a bright orange car, but there were very few of them around, and I think that the turmeric car looks very regal.

It also fits very easily in to the garage, so it is snug and dry when we aren't using it.

Today we went on a little journey to Waterperry Gardens to enjoy the drive (mostly Darren), and to look at the plants (almost only me).

It was good, not huge so it didn't take too long to see all of it, but some nice views.

We also bought a rusty metal heron as a companion for the stork that lives next to our pond.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Busy weekend

Saturday was the first parkrun for 70 weeks. 

We went to Bicester and just as the race was about to start, a local celebrity called Eric the Swan turned up to join in at the back of the pack. 

We all set off in one direction while a volunteer tried to corral Eric away from the action. It wasn't totally successful and he was in the middle of the course at the end of the first lap, so we all had to stay away and do a little detour round him.

We finished well in quite good times so I am pleased that we haven't lost the knack, but obviously not quick enough for Eric who had totally disappeared by the time we rolled in. 

In the evening we went to a party for Darren's cousins delayed 50th birthday, and they had a photo booth.

There was a few problems with the photo cropping, so Darren's nephew in law is the bad boy and his great nephew is under the cowboy hat, and totally out of the shot. 

This morning we had an appointment with We Buy Any Car, and after a bit of haggling, they bought ours. We got more than we expected so walked away very happy,

but then had to carry on walking all the way home. 

Friday, 23 July 2021

New turmeric coloured car

Darren has been planning this day for ages, and today we went and bought a new car. Well, new to us - it is three years old, has less than 6,000 miles on the clock and is a Volkswagen T-roc.

Top of my list of important features was a good colour, and this is an interesting one - turmeric yellow. It's always good to be able to spot your own car in the supermarket car park, and I think that we have managed to do that with all of our choices. 

We are picking the new one up next week, and our lovely existing blue and white car will be off to a new home.

This seems a good time to go on a trip down memory lane and our first car together, the amazing five litre Mustang. Also blue and white, but the similarities probably stop there. 

Then my trusty Probe that I drove until it very sadly died on Hucknall Road and I just managed to roll it down the hill where it was broken up for spare parts. 💔

Darren's Smart car that we should have kept and is a classic now. 

The nippy Ford Fiesta that had the whole of its front bumper stolen, and that we sold the next day in a big sulk. 

And who could forget our wonderful campervans. 

What a great collection. I wonder where they all are now. 

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Back home

Woke up this morning to our final day in London. The weather forecast was not good, and we had nothing planned so we decided to walk back to the canal to see where our run went wrong yesterday.

We soon got to the Kings Cross end of the tunnel and the canal disappeared in to it.

Just above the tunnel was a map showing how to get to the other end overground, so we set off through a modern housing estate to try to find it.

After about ten minutes we found a huge pair of wings in a shopping centre.

This made me wonder where and what was the original Angel of Islington. I looked it up and there was a very old pub called the Angel Inn.  By 1614 the area around it was already being called Angel. Unfortunately the pub no longer exists, but its name lives on.

Angel is on a bit of a hill, so the canal builders had to decide whether to build a series of locks, both up and down, or a tunnel. Obviously the tunnel idea won.

A competition was held in 1815 for the design of the tunnel but all of the entries were disappointing, so the engineer decided to design and build his own, which to my untrained eye, also looks disappointing.

However, it is still here and does the job, so I shouldn't really criticise it.

Shame about the graffiti, and it is a lovely walk along the towpath. 

Caught the early train home, and the garden has grown massively in the past week. 

Easier day

 It was a much calmer day today, although it started out as quite hard work. We got up fairly early and got on a bike. You only get 30 minutes free on the cycles so we changed bikes three times before we reached our destination of the Limehouse Basin. 

That's in the bottom right of the map and the start or end of the Regents Canal. We then set off running along it back to our hotel. All was going well until we got to Islington and the canal disappeared into a tunnel.

We ran up on to the street expecting the canal to appear again. There was no sign of it and then we saw a road sign for cars saying Kings Cross, so we followed it and ran along the main road. Quite unbelievably, about ten minutes later we recognised our hotel.

Then we went to the Banksy exhibition at Covent Garden. It was very good and right at the end was an area for you to create your own Banksy.

I tried the one with the little girl who lets go of the balloon.

Afterwards we sat in very comfortable deck chairs in Berkeley Square and watched the tennis, while we waited for our friends Margs and Dave to arrive.

We then all went back to see the elephants again and they were even more magnificent this time. The sun was out and a flock of exotic birds had landed on some of their backs.

Actually that's quite a small one. Later we all went for a curry and a glass of cider or two.

Ps, I have looked at the map more closely and the canal disappears into the Islington Tunnel which is about a kilometre long. It runs right under Islington before appearing again and carrying on quite near to our hotel. We hadn't noticed this little fact when planning the running route.